In a large family like ours, there are lots of middle kids. In Brennan's case, he is a mix of the baby of the family and also the exact middle of the bunch. Brennan was 6 years old when Kaden came along and so he really functions as more of a baby of the family than the middle. But, there are characteristics of both roles displayed in his personality. We spent the day together today along with Miss Maisy. He is going to Wolf Ridge Environmental camp with his 6th grade class this upcoming week. The list of what to bring seems to keep growing and gets more and more expensive every year. So off we went to the store to get the last minute items he needed on his list.
I was reminded quickly that even though we work hard to spend one on one time with the kids, that this past year has been a whirlwind for everyone. We have not spent as much one on one time as we would like to think we do. I realized today that I miss my son..the one who doesn't necessarily hop in the car with me when I am running errands...the one who would rather play video games than board games and tries to spend time with friends who have things we do not...like 4 wheelers, dirt bikes, and other fun outdoor speed machines. I forgot what a sensitive and smart young man he is...how thoughtful and and insightful he can be. It was a great day with him.
We were finishing off our day with a quick run into Kohl's...as we went by the ornaments by the Christmas display, Brennan noticed one that said "middle child" on it. I reminded him that he was the exact middle of our family with 5 older siblings and 5 younger ones. He wasn't just a middle child but THE middle child. As he thought about it awhile, he said
"That's cool...I have 5 to support me and 5 to teach."
Those words touched my heart in ways you can not imagine. This year has been a struggle and now as I am coming out of the fog, I am realizing that so much of the behaviors we have been dealing with have been as a result of the intensity of our lives...the lack of sleep that we have had as parents and the loss of intentional, focused parenting that we used to put into practice. Our children need us to get back on track...they just need us more. To really listen..to be fully invested their lives and not just when we are rushing from medical emergencies to therapy appointments. They need us to stop moving and just be for awhile.
And so in the midst of our parenting this year that has been less than stellar, God has taken over in our weakness...and he has sustained our family. Brennan's words--five siblings to support me and five siblings to teach...that is a beautiful picture of what I have always dreamed our family would be...a place where each of the children would feel supported by one another...and a place where they feel as if God is using them fully as they teach and guide the little ones that are growing under the protective wings of their older brothers and sisters. Yet, another reason why I love my big family.